Image via ybfchic's photobucket
I've agreed to read something for a World AIDS Day event here in Lexington. I'm searching for that thing. Any suggestions?
Image via Next Magazine
Via the New York Times: At A Gay-Specific Bookstore - Just Books on a Shelf Won't Do
An independent bookstore opened last month with a performance by Gio Black Peter, a downtown artist. Wearing only black boxers, he stood on a translucent plastic tarp and read a poem entitled, “The Morning Star,” flanked by two beer-drinking men.
The crowd, a mix of young bearded men in button-down shirts and their equally hirsute but graying elders, applauded heartily at the end of the reading, their introduction to the Bureau for General Services – Queer Division, a gay bookstore that relocated last month to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village.
The opening act was almost as unusal as the store’s mission: operating a bookstore in an era when print is supposedly dying and when there are only a handful of gay-specific bookstores left in North America.
“That was a nice christening, wasn’t it?” said Greg Newton, who owns the store with his partner, Donnie Jochum. To succeed, they plan to do things differently. “The Bureau needs to be a very lively, active space where people come to hang out, kind of like a salon. We can’t just put books on a shelf and wait for people to buy them.”
Visit the Bureau
Image via IMDB
It would be foolish to celebrate Nichols’s impact on gay society by reducing it to the mere fact that he made two big movies—well, one film and one miniseries—about gay people. As a leader, though perhaps an unknowing one, in a Hollywood revolution with a penchant for empowering the outsiders and a keen eye for taste, fabulousness, and strong women, he imbued the community with so much more.
Mike Nichols, director of such movies as The Graduate, The Birdcage, and Angels in America, among others, has died. Here you can see him as part of the improve due Nichols and May with Elaine May.
Here is his New York Times obituary
After weeks of not being motivated to read Homer's Iliad, I finally returned it and added it back to my "to-read" list on Goodreads. I'm just not ready for it.
Which brings me to this post that's been fairly prominent on the website BookRiot: Reading Is Not a Chore: On Quitting Books
I wish we could talk about our reading preferences without invoking the health or state of literature every time, as if Literature is a Fairy that will drop dead somewhere if someone says they don’t believe in it. I like learning about people’s reading habits, and I wish we could just leave it at that.
What am I on about? This article, in which we learn that you must finish every book you begin. I’m not sure there’s a lot of reason to respond to this kind of talk, because that’s the sort of imperative command that you, Dear Reader, probably know what to do with unconsciously. You either go “I do!” or you go “the hell I will.” Unconsciously, you either plow through books, or you give up and wander off to greener pastures.
It got me thinking about the last time I forced my way through a book, though. It was Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. A classic of literature. Widely taught and widely hailed, it is definitely A Great And Important Book. And I’m sure it’s all of these things, but…god, I hated it.
It was boring (to me anyhow). The language was pretentious. The characters were dull. The plot went on and on and seemed determined not to arrive at any kind of resolution until I had confessed to all the crimes I had done, or something.
I can’t remember why I kept reading it. It wasn’t even for school or anything, so I had no excuse. Somehow I had got it into my head I was going to finish this stupid thing, and I did. I remember reading the last 50 pages standing upright (to stay awake), reading them at the speeds I normally read the conclusions of books I’m in love with…but this time, it was desperation, trying to get out of this damn book so I could go read something else. Anything else. It was like pulling a massive all-nighter on the last day of a long driving trip, just to get it over with.
It was the most miserable reading experience of my life. And it had some effects. For one, I actively resent both the book and the author now. I couldn’t help it. This was a form of aversion therapy. Perhaps if I had put it down and wandered off, I might have come back to the book a few years later and tried again. Or perhaps I would have gone “maybe it was just this one, let’s try some other Nabokov.” Neither of these things have happened in the intervening two years since I jammed Lolita up my nose. Examining my feelings now, I loathe the idea of that book, or Nabokov. You would think he slashed my tires or something, but no. It’s all because I forced my way through a book I hated.
So if we are considering whether or not it “hurts literature” for us to finish or not finish books, we can mark this down as a “hurting literature” moment. Because if Nabokov is a super important author that we should read…I am not going to read him. Forcing myself to finish the book cost me that.
Here is my advice: when you love something, don’t do variations on that thing which will make you hate it.
I love exercising, and running in particular…but now and then, I get tired of it. So I stop and go do other stuff for weeks or a month or so. Because if I force it long enough, I’ll stop because it’s turned into a miserable slog, not a pleasure. And if I push too hard, I’ll lose it altogether. It’s no different with books. If you spend all your time slogging through, finish books you really aren’t enjoying while books you are gonna love are hovering tantalizingly nearby, soon reading is going to be as exciting as it was when you were in school and getting novels you weren’t interested in (right that second) stuffed into you.
And as for the state of literature…I think your enthusiasm will do much more for it, than your personally slogging through. This past week or so, I’ve read three or four books which I have been absolutely nuts over. Just last night, I finished a book that doesn’t come out til next year, called Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley and I was in love with it. I spent ages gushing about it on Twitter, jabbering about it to everyone around me, pacing around the house while reading because my enthusiasm was running so high. I will be talking about it – and other books I have gone nuts for – between now and their release next year. When they come out, I will force them onto people. I will babble incessantly. I will be a hyperactive pest, because they’re books I love.
Now surely this is better for the state of literature, this unbridled enthusiasm and joyful desire to push these loved books further and further into the world…than instead sitting around complaining as I slog through Lolita, hating what I’m reading or (what usually happens) not reading and doing something else. Putting it off like a chore.
A final thought: I don’t think this means you shouldn’t read hard books, or tricky stuff you aren’t quite ready for. What I think you should do is be willing to say not “this is a crap book” but “maybe me and this book aren’t syncing up quite yet” or something along those lines. Put it back on the shelf and circle back to it. This year, the summer of 2014, I finally read a book I bought in 2001, which I’ve had zero interest in. And I loved it. We matched up now. Do this, I suggest. Wait until you and the book are ready for each other. You’ll be better for it, and the “state of literature” will too. Save your acts of miserable endurance for the dentist or the DMV.
Image via The Amphipolis Tomb
Pieces of coffin decoration, made from bone and glass were found inside the burial trench. Metal nails from the wooden coffin were also discovered.
Also pieces of the Tumulus Wall (the wall surrounding the entire tomb) were found in a nearby lake.
A limestone tomb found below the floor in the third chamber of the Amphipolis Tomb. Inside was found a wooden coffin containing a fully intact skeleton.
Image from BBC News <-- click over for more!
Image and quote via NPR
In the more than two years since Maurice Sendak died, a dispute has simmered over the celebrated author and illustrator's wishes for the works he left behind. Now, the fate of that personal library will be settled in court.
The Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit against Sendak's estate, alleging that the Sendak trustees have failed to comply with the terms of his will. In the will, according to the lawsuit, Sendak requests that much of his rare book collection — as well as many of his own writings and illustrations — remain in Philadelphia to be displayed at the museum, with which Sendak shared a decades-long relationship.
Although the will allows leeway for negotiation between both parties, talks between the Rosenbach and the executors of Sendak's will have failed to reach an agreement.
At the heart of the dispute lies two gems of Sendak's collection, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer: William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, and several books by Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit. The newspaper reports that the debate over the latter boils down to a question central in Sendak's own writing.
The suit argues that the estate doesn't intend to transfer to the Potter books because "they are children's books, not rare books," the Inquirer writes. "The Rosenbach calls that reasoning not only faulty but rife with irony: Sendak argued that divisions between adult and children's literature were invalid — in his work as well as that of others."
Filed in Connecticut, where Sendak lived, the lawsuit has an added wrinkle: a possible deadline. Sendak trustees are planning an auction in January. Although trustees have said none of the disputed items would be auctioned, according to the lawsuit, the Inquirer reports that the Rosenbach has nevertheless sought a court order to keep executors from transferring, disposing or distributing until a resolution is reached.
This was basically the sentiment that I discussed when presenting for the opportunity to go to Greece - but in that case, the library was the last bastion of the Hellenic Ideals which includes Democracy, rather than simply the last bastion of Democracy.
Kurt Vonnegut would be 92.
Amazing how someone you've never probably seen could mean so much to you.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The actress best known for voicing the unseen Mrs. Wolowitz on "The Big Bang Theory" has died.
Carol Ann Susi's agent, Pam Ellis-Evenas, says the actress died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a brief battle with cancer. She was 62.
The veteran character actress has made numerous guest appearances on TV shows since the 1970s.
On the "The Big Bang Theory," she wasn't seen on camera as the mother of Simon Helberg's character, Howard, but her character's loud voice with a Brooklyn accent was instantly recognizable.
The executive producers of the CBS sitcom say Susi was a beloved member of the "Big Bang Theory" family, and they praised her "immense talent and comedic timing."
Susi is survived by her brother, Michael Susi, and his wife, Connie.
Some pretty for your post election blues.
Alexander Lee is a stipendiary lecturer in early modern history at St. Catherine's College, Oxford. A prize-winning specialist in the history of the Italian Renaissance, he holds degrees from the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and is the author of numerous academic works on the Renaissance [all that's from his author's blurb] AAAANNND the book The Ugly Renaissance: sex, greed, violence and depravity in an age of beauty.
“My name’s Henry Dudlow. I’m fifteen and a half. And I’m cursed. Or damned. Take your pick. The reason? I see demons.”
So begins the latest novel by horror master Dave Zeltserman. The setting is quiet Newton, Massachussetts, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look…different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon.
Once Henry catches onto the real Mr. Hanley, he starts to see demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. There’s no more time for friends or sports or the lovely Sally Freeman — instead Henry must work his way through ancient texts and hunt down the demons before they steal any more innocent children. And if hunting demons is hard at any age, it’s borderline impossible when your parents are on your case, and your grades are getting worse, and you can’t tell anyone about your chosen mission.
A very scary novel written with verve and flashes of great humor, The Boy Who Killed Demons is Dave Zeltserman’s most accomplished and entertaining horror novel yet.
Sexy, racy, hilarious, and even moving, The Indifference League is a story of what happens when the starry-eyed optimism of the Greatest Generation crashes into the obsessions and fears of the New Lost Generation.
Under the faded banner of Superman, Wonder Woman, and other heroes past steps the Indifference League: The Statistician, Time Bomb, Hippie Avenger, SuperKen, SuperBarbie, Miss Demeanour, Mr. Nice Guy, Psycho Superstar, The Drifter, and The Stunner. All archetypes of Generations X and Y, they are here to show us just how much things have changed.
Sex and love. Religion and politics. Left and Right. Right and Wrong. Can anyone be a hero in an age where the lines are so blurred? When they meet again at The Hall of Indifference for a long weekend together, The Indifference League will fight to find out. Or not.
Thirteen hilarious, moving, and beautifully brutal stories by David Gordon, the award-winning author of Mystery Girl and The Serialist.
In these funny, surprising, and touching stories, Gordon gets at the big stuff—art and religion, literature and madness, the supernatural, and the dark fringes of sexuality—in his own unique style, described by novelist Rivka Galchen as “Dashiell Hammett divided by Don DeLillo, to the power of Dostoyevsky—yet still pure David Gordon.”
Gordon's creations include ex-gangsters and terrifying writing coaches, Internet girlfriends and bogus memoirists, Chinatown ghosts, and vampires of Queens. “The Amateur” features a cafe encounter with a terrible artist who carries a mind-blowing secret. In the long, beautifully brutal title story, a man numbed by life finds himself flirting with and mourning lost souls in the purgatory of sex chatrooms. The result is both unflinching and hilarious, heartbreaking and life-affirming.
The definitive biography of the great soldier-statesman by the New York Times bestselling author of The Storm of War
Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all times.
Andrew Roberts’s Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine. Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St. Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century.
An award-winning historian, Roberts traveled to fifty-three of Napoleon’s sixty battle sites, discovered crucial new documents in archives, and even made the long trip by boat to St. Helena. He is as acute in his understanding of politics as he is of military history. Here at last is a biography worthy of its subject: magisterial, insightful, beautifully written, by one of our foremost historians.
From an acclaimed African writer, a novel about family, freedom, and loyalty.
When Bella learns of the murder of her beloved half brother by political extremists in Mogadiscio, she’s in Rome. The two had different fathers but shared a Somali mother, from whom Bella’s inherited her freewheeling ways. An internationally known fashion photographer, dazzling but aloof, she comes and goes as she pleases, juggling three lovers. But with her teenage niece and nephew effectively orphaned – their mother abandoned them years ago—she feels an unfamiliar surge of protective feeling. Putting her life on hold, she journeys to Nairobi, where the two are in boarding school, uncertain whether she can—or must—come to their rescue. When their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirror the deepening political instability in the region, Bella has to decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility.
A new departure in theme and setting for “the most important African novelist to emerge in the past twenty-five years” (The New York Review of Books) Hiding in Plain Sight, is a profound exploration of the tensions between freedom and obligation, the ways gender and sexual preference define us, and the unexpected paths by which the political disrupts the personal.
This sensitive and compelling biography sheds new light on John Singer Sargent s art through an intimate history of his family. Karen Corsano and Daniel Williman focus especially on his niece and muse, Rose-Marie Ormond, telling her story for the first time. In a score of paintings created between 1906 and 1912, John Singer Sargent documented the idyllic teenage summers of Rose-Marie and his own deepening affection for her serene beauty and good-hearted, candid charm. Rose-Marie married Robert, the only son of Andre Michel, the foremost art historian of his day, who had known Sargent and reviewed his paintings in the Paris Salons of the 1880s. Robert was a promising historian as well, until the Great War claimed him first as an infantry sergeant, then a victim, in 1914. His widow Rose-Marie served as a nurse in a rehabilitation hospital for blinded French soldiers until she too was killed, crushed under a bombed church vault, in 1918. Sargent expressed his grief, as he expressed all his emotions, on canvas: He painted ruined French churches and, in Gassed, blinded soldiers; he made his last murals for the Boston Public Library a cryptic memorial to Rose-Marie and her beloved Robert. Braiding together the lives and families of Rose-Marie, Robert, and John Sargent, the book spans their many worlds Paris, the Alps, London, the Soissons front, and Boston. Drawing on a rich trove of letters, diaries, and journals, this beautifully illustrated history brings Sargent and his times to vivid life."
Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award
Gathered here is a half century’s magnificent work by the former poet laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner whose haunting and exemplary style has influenced an entire generation of American poets.
Beginning with the limited-edition volume Sleeping with One Eye Open, published in 1964, Mark Strand was hailed as a poet of piercing originality and elegance, and in the ensuing decades he has not swerved from his vision of how a poem should be shaped and what it should deliver. As he entered the middle period of his career, with volumes such as The Continuous Life (1990), Strand was already well-known for his ability to capture the subtle music of consciousness, and for creating painterly physical landscapes that could answer to the inner self: “And here the dark infinitive to feel, / Which would endure and have the earth be still / And the star-strewn night pour down the mountains / Into the hissing fields and silent towns.” In his later work, from Blizzard of One (1998) which won the Pulitzer Prize, through the sly, provocative riddles of his recent Almost Invisible (2012), Strand has delighted in reminding us that there is no poet quite like him for a dose of dark wit that turns out to be deep wisdom and self-deprecation. He has given voice to our collective imagination with a grandeur and comic honesty worthy of his great Knopf forebear Wallace Stevens. With this volume, we celebrate his canonical work.
No matter how beautiful some dreams are, there comes a time when we must let them go.
It is the summer of 1972, and Katie has just turned eighteen. Katie and her town, Elephant Beach, are both on the verge: Katie of adulthood, and Elephant Beach of gentrification. But not yet: Elephant Beach is still gritty, working-class, close-knit. And Katie spends her time smoking and drinking with her friends, dreaming about a boy just back from Vietnam who’s still fighting a battle Katie can’t understand. In this poignant, evocative debut collection, Judy Chicurel creates a haunting, vivid world, where conflicts between mothers and daughters, men and women, soldiers and civilians and haves and have-nots reverberate to our own time. She captures not only a time and place, but the universal experience of being poised between the past and the future.
Take the format of a spy thriller, shape it around real-life incidents involving international terrorism, leaven it with dark, dry humor, toss in a love rectangle, give everybody a gun, and let everything play out in the outer reaches of upstate New York—there you have an idea of Brock Clarke’s new novel, The Happiest People in the World.
Who are “the happiest people in the world”? Theoretically, it’s all the people who live in Denmark, the country that gave the world Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and the open-face sandwich. But Denmark is also where some political cartoonists got into very unhappy trouble when they attempted to depict Muhammad in their drawings, which prompted protests, arson, and even assassination attempts.
Imagine, then, that one of those cartoonists, given protection through the CIA, is relocated to a small town in upstate New York where he is given a job as a high school guidance counselor. Once there, he manages to fall in love with the wife of the high school principal, who himself is trying to get over the effects of a misguided love affair with the very CIA agent who sent the cartoonist to him. Imagine also that virtually every other person in this tiny town is a CIA operative.
The result is a darkly funny tale of paranoia and the all-American obsession with security and the conspiracies that threaten it, written in a tone that is simultaneously filled with wonder and anger in almost equal parts.
In a new novel from the best-selling author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek, a young ranch hand escapes a family tragedy and travels to Hollywood to become a stunt rider.
In 1938, nineteen-year-old ranch hand Bud Frazer sets out for Hollywood. His little sister has been gone a couple of years now, his parents are finding ranch work and comfort for their loss where they can, but for Bud, Echol Creek, where he grew up and first learned to ride, is a place he can no longer call home. So he sets his sights on becoming a stunt rider in the movies — and rubbing shoulders with the great screen cowboys of his youth.
On the long bus ride south, Bud meets a young woman who also harbors dreams of making it in the movies, though not as a starlet but as a writer, a real writer. Lily Shaw is bold and outspoken, confident in ways out of proportion with her small frame and bookish looks. But the two strike up an unlikely kinship that will carry them through their tumultuous days in Hollywood — and, as it happens, for the rest of their lives.
Acutely observed, Falling from Horses charts what was to be a glittering year in the movie business through the wide eyes and lofty dreams of two people trying to make their mark on the world, or at least make their way in it. Molly Gloss weaves a remarkable tale of humans and horses, hope and heartbreak, narrated by one of the most winning narrators ever to walk off the page.
A stunning departure, a surprising and compelling return…From Anne Rice, perennial best seller, single-handed reinventor of the vampire cosmology — a new, exhilarating novel, a deepening of her vampire mythology, and a chillingly hypnotic mystery-thriller.
“What can we do but reach for the embrace that must now
contain both heaven and hell: our doom again and again and
—from The Vampire Lestat
Rice once again summons up the irresistible spirit-world of the oldest and most powerful forces of the night, invisible beings unleashed on an unsuspecting world able to take blood from humans, in a long-awaited return to the extraordinary world of the Vampire Chronicles and the uniquely seductive Queen of the Damned (“mesmerizing” —SF Chronicle), a long-awaited novel that picks up where The Vampire Lestat ("brilliant…its undead characters are utterly alive" —New York Times) left off more than a quarter of a century ago to create an extraordinary new world of spirits and forces—the characters, legend, and lore of all the Vampire Chronicles.
The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis…vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned…Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco.
As the novel moves from present-day New York and the West Coast to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th-century Rome, the Venice of the Renaissance, the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles — Louis de Pointe du Lac; the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Boticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures — come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who — or what — the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…
And, at the book’s center, the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw - the great hope of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat…
From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.
The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.
Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.
With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.
Reggie Rainbow got his name at the orphanage. He had polio as a child, and seventeen years of using crutches have given him strong hands and nimble fingers. It is this dexterity, perfect for illusions, which first led Mr. Brookes to hire him for the act. Reggie has been a disappearance boy for years now, making a long string of alluring assistants vanish while Mr. Brookes tricks and misdirects the audience.
But in the spring of 1953, the public no longer seem interested in illusionists. Bookings are slim, even in London. When Mr. Brookes gets a new slot at the down-at-the-heel Brighton Grand, Reggie finds himself in a strange town, one full of dark and unexplored corners. And it is the arrival of Pamela Rose, a beautiful new assistant, that truly turns his life upside down. As the Grand's spectacular Coronation show nears, Reggie begins to wonder how much of his own life has been an act-and sets out to find somebody who disappeared from his life long ago.
Masterful and heartfelt, The Disappearance Boy is the tale of one young man coming into adulthood amidst the smoke-and-mirrors backstage world; a story of love, tears, and illusion-of all that stays behind the curtain.
Ava has spent the last hundred years as a hellhound, the indentured servant of a reaper who hunts errant souls and sends them to hell. When a human necromancer convinces her to steal her reaper's scythe, Ava incurs the wrath of the demon Lilith. As punishment, Lilith orders Ava to track down the last soul in her reaper's ledger — or die trying.
But after a hundred years of servitude, it's time for payback. And hell hath no fury like an avenging Ava…
The story of the archaeology behind the dig that found Richard III, told through a fascinating array of photographs, diagrams, and firsthand accounts.
In August 2012 a search began and on February 4, 2013 a team from Leicester University delivered its verdict to a mesmerized press room, watched by media studios around the world: they had found the remains of Richard III, whose history is perhaps the most contested of all British monarchs.
History offers a narrow range of information about Richard III which mostly has already been worked to destruction. Archaeology creates new data, new stories, with a different kind of material: physical remains from which modern science can wrest a surprising amount, and which provide a direct, tangible connection with the past. Unlike history, archaeological research demands that teams of people with varied backgrounds work together. Archaeology is a communal activity, in which the interaction of personalities as well as professional skills can change the course of research. Photographs from the author’s own archives, alongside additional material from Leicester University, offer a compelling detective story as the evidence is uncovered.
A delightful tour through the intimate details of life in Victorian England, told by a historian who has cheerfully endured them all.
Ruth Goodman believes in getting her hands dirty. Drawing on her own adventures living in re-created Victorian conditions, Goodman serves as our bustling and fanciful guide to nineteenth-century life. Proceeding from daybreak to bedtime, this charming, illustrative work celebrates the ordinary lives of the most perennially fascinating era of British history. From waking up to the rapping of a “knocker-upper man” on the window pane to lacing into a corset after a round of calisthenics, from slipping opium to the little ones to finally retiring to the bedroom for the ideal combination of “love, consideration, control and pleasure,” the weird, wonderful, and somewhat gruesome intricacies of Victorian life are vividly rendered here. How to Be a Victorian is an enchanting manual for the insatiably curious.
Image and quote from Kentucky For Kentucky
Hell for Certain, or sometimes Hell-Fer-Sartin, is a few miles north of Hyden along the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River. The most common story for how it got its name involves a missionary who took a trip to the area long ago. When asked where he’d been he said something to the effect of, “I don’t know, but it was Hell for certain!”
A statue of Socrates in front of Athens' Academy.
NPR's Eric Westervelt begins a series on 50 great teachers with a post on Socrates and his influence on the Western world.
We're starting this celebration of teaching with Socrates, the superstar teacher of the ancient world. He was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for "impiety" and "corrupting" the minds of the youth of Athens.
But Socrates' ideas helped form the foundation of Western philosophy and the scientific method of inquiry. And his question-and-dialogue-based teaching style lives on in many classrooms as the Socratic method.
I went to Oakland Technical High School in California to see it in action.
William Gibson returns with his first novel since 2010’s New York Timesbestselling Zero History.
Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there’s a job he’s supposed to do—a job Flynne didn’t know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He’s supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That’s all there is to it. He’s offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn’t what Burton told her to expect. It might be a game, but it might also be murder.
There’s little debate that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest screen actors of his generation, perhaps of all time—if not, in fact, the greatest. His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. Mean Streets, the Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, the Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull all dazzled moviegoers and critics alike, displaying a talent the likes of which had rarely—if ever—been seen. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, assuming that role completely into his own life, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances.
Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro—he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by inarticulateness and palpable awkwardness. It can be almost painful to watch at times, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. In this elegant and compelling biography, bestselling writer Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros—the characters and the man—seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists (his father, the abstract painter Robert De Niro Sr., was widely celebrated) who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restauranteur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry. His many friendships with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel, Shelley Winters, Francis Ford Coppola, among many others, are woven into this extraordinary portrait of DeNiro the man and the artist, also adding a depth of understanding not before seen.
Levy has had unprecedented access to De Niro's personal research and production materials, creating a new impression of the effort that went into the actor's legendary performances. The insights gained from DeNiro’s intense working habits shed new perspective on DeNiro’s thinking and portrayals and are wonderful to read. Levy also spoke to De Niro's collaborators and friends to depict De Niro's transition from an ambitious young man to a transfixing and enigmatic artist and cultural figure.
Shawn Levy has written a truly engaging, insightful, and entertaining portrait of one of the most wonderful film artists of our time, a book that is worthy of such a great talent.
The wait is over. Bestselling science fiction master Peter F. Hamilton is back with the first of a new two-book saga set in his popular Commonwealth universe. Distinguished by deft plotting, a teeming cast of characters, dazzling scientific speculation, and imagination that brings the truly alien to life, The Abyss Beyond Dreams reveals Hamilton as a storyteller of astonishing ingenuity and power.
The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel—self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void.
Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void, where the laws of physics are subtly different and mental powers indistinguishable from magic are commonplace. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics—the Fallers—that are intelligent but merciless killers.
Yet these same aliens may hold the key to destroying the threat of the Void forever—if Nigel can uncover their secrets. As the Fallers’ relentless attacks continue, and the fragile human society splinters into civil war, Nigel must uncover the secrets of the Fallers—before he is killed by the very people he has come to save.
A brief yet definitive new biography of one of film's greatest legends: perfect for readers who want to know more about the iconic star but who don't want to commit to a lengthy work.
He was the very first icon of the silver screen and is one of the most recognizable of Hollywood faces, even a hundred years after his first film. But what of the man behind the moustache? Peter Ackroyd's new biography turns the spotlight on Chaplin's life as well as his work, from his humble theatrical beginnings in music halls to winning an honorary Academy Award. Everything is here, from the glamor of his golden age to the murky scandals of the 1940s and eventual exile to Switzerland. There are charming anecdotes along the way: playing the violin in a New York hotel room to mask the sound of Stan Laurel frying pork chops and long Hollywood lunches with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. This masterful brief biography offers fresh revelations about one of the most familiar faces of the last century and brings the Little Tramp vividly to life.
Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.
Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows…
In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.
The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from acclaimed music writer David Ritz.
Aretha Franklin began life as the golden daughter of a progressive and promiscuous Baptist preacher. Raised without her mother, she was a gospel prodigy who gave birth to two sons in her teens and left them and her native Detroit for New York, where she struggled to find her true voice. It was not until 1967, when a white Jewish producer insisted she return to her gospel-soul roots, that fame and fortune finally came via "Respect" and a rapidfire string of hits. She has evolved ever since, amidst personal tragedy, surprise Grammy performances, and career reinventions.
Again and again, Aretha stubbornly finds a way to triumph over troubles, even as they continue to build. Her hold on the crown is tenacious, and in RESPECT, David Ritz gives us the definitive life of one of the greatest talents in all American culture.
A monumental, genre-defying novel over ten years in the making, Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents.
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.
Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.
Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made The Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.
In a career that spans over seven decades, Roger Moore has been at the very heart of Hollywood. Of course, he's an actor and has starred in films that have made him famous the world over; but he's also a tremendous prankster, joker and raconteur. Despite the fact that he is well known as one of the nicest guys in the business, on and off the screen he has always been up for some fun. In this fabulous collection of true stories from his stellar career, Moore lifts the lid on the movie business, from Hollywood to Pinewood. One Lucky Bastard features outrageous tales from his own life and career as well as those told to him by a host of stars and filmmakers including, Tony Curtis, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, David Niven, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, John Mills, Peter Sellers, Michael Winner, Cubby Broccoli, and many more. Wonderfully entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, these extraordinary tales from the world of the movies is vintage Moore at his very best.